Political campaigns aren’t the places to look for humility or forthright honesty, but last week’s “Important Message From the Mayor “ lowered the bar on campaign ethics even further; creating new suspicions against city officials and staff, publishing it in a format that could easily mislead readers into thinking this was an official city communication, and topping it off with what some might call racially-charged imagery.
While John Mlnarik was filing a complaint about alleged FPPC violations by Mayor Lisa Gillmor’s endorsed slate of City Council candidates, residents opened their mailboxes to find this “important message” stamped with what looked like some new city branding: the seal of Mayor Lisa Gillmor/Mayor of Santa Clara, a knock-off of Santa Clara’s official city seal.
In addition to Gillmor’s now-familiar litany of unsubstantiated allegations – that money is being siphoned from the police department to the stadium, “laundered” money is flooding into the campaign, and the 49ers diabolically contriving to “take over” – this “important message” introduced a new fabrication; namely, that there is an ongoing criminal investigation of stadium finances.
In fact there is no such criminal investigation.
“The District Attorney’s office is not investigating this matter at this time,” said Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney John Chase in a statement to the WEEKLY Tuesday. “We are aware of the civil grand jury’s report concerning the stadium billing and the ongoing audit. When the audit is completed we will review the findings and determine if any action by the District Attorney’s office is warranted.”
Gillmor also urged people to vote for her slate of candidates – Debi Davis, Teresa O’Neill, Tino Silva and Kathleen Watanabe for Council and Patrick Nikolai for police chief – and to reject their opponents – Patricia Mahan, John McLemore, Mohammad Nadeem, Ahmad Rafah and Police Chief Mike Sellers.
The black-white imagery on the flip side of the mailer is disturbingly evocative. To help voters make the distinction between hosts of darkness – “dark money” – and the children of light – “transparent” – Gillmor’s candidates are all smiles on a white background and labeled “For Santa Clara.” Their opponents were shown mostly scowling against a black background and labeled “For the 49ers.”
The toxicity of the black-siders was further underscored by a red football helmet illustrated with the symbol for biomedical waste.
Two of the “dark” candidates are Muslims.
The Santa Clara Police Officers Association PAC paid for this “important message from the mayor.” While the expenditure was reported, the vendor to whom it was made, isn’t.
This was the second “message from the Mayor” residents received last week. The first urged them to vote against Congressman Mike Honda and for attorney Ro Khanna.